SANFL Round 8 – North Adelaide v Norwood: Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain

It is a perfect morning for Auskick on 30 May. Crisp, more than a hint of winter in the air. One of those clear blue skies that has so many subtly different shades that it looks like a colour chart. No wind, just the seagull cries of 20 blanket coverable 5-7 year olds, calling for the ball. “Josh, Josh, Josh. Mason, Mason, Mason, MASON!”

The fresh air clears the red wine induced haze of the night before, catching up with old school mates – we change so little and so much. The consumption of a decent red from a teapot giving us a few new yarns to wind around the old. Scratch match over, I bundle the kids into the car and head Prospect-ward.

We leave one of the oldest footy clubs in the country, the Modbury Hawks (est. 1862), to support the comparative newcomers in Norwood (est. 1878.) Modbury is a feeder club for Norwood – mostly coincidental to my choice of abode (it may have been in caps on the ‘pro’ list.) Hawks boy Harry Cross has just started his senior career at Norwood – it’s great to see him grow in confidence by the week.

The Redlegs playing North Adelaide at Prospect is always a tough gig. We’ve lost two of our three games there in our premiership years this decade. Last year the exception where the Roosters were more interested in knocking former player James Allan’s head off than actually getting the ball – a surprisingly comfortable 53 point win ensued.

Today the game was clearly going to be a tighter affair. The clear skies of the morning had been replaced by grumpily dark clouds and a westerly wind that swung north and south as it saw fit. North start off freshly with a couple of goals to the delightfully named Virgin (there has to be a joke about him needing to change his name post-goal) and Obst and the likely pattern of the play is clear immediately – North is trying to outrun Norwood while the Redlegs are trying to keep them in the clinches.

Although there has not been any rain the wind is sufficient for the skills to be appalling. As a tennis player wind always found out the players with poor technique (those that didn’t hit through the ball). It’s the same in footy – those that don’t kick through the ball are at the mercy of the breeze. Sadly a couple of Norwood’s more senior players have absolutely shocking actions and pay for it.

That said, the Redlegs keep regularly moving the ball forward, with (kicking aside) Michael Chippendale making a decent fist of being a forward in the absence of Michael Newton and Brady Dawe. The ‘legs with only five behinds to show for their first quarter exertions. The second quarter follows a similar fashion – Norwood moving the ball forward wastefully and the Roosters trying to catch them on the rebound. When Amato goals 5 minutes into the quarter, North are up by 21 points and things look ominous.

I know these write-ups by myself and Rulebook sometimes seem like a Sam Baulderstone lovefest but it is with good reason. Again, he takes another game by its proverbial scruff to drive Norwood through the contests. Matthew Panos likely has a welt in his breadbasket, the number of times Baulderstone put it there during the game. The Redlegs take control under significant Rooster pressure and kick the next 3.4 to hit the lead just before half time. North get another fast break and Obst goals to give them a five point lead at half time.

As we boot the ball at the Robran End during the break, the clouds make good their threat and an insistent but light rain sets in. Of course this does not deter the lad in his attempts to take a ‘sky mark’ and we stay out there getting mildly moist. As noted on Anzac Day eve, the rain imbues the Redlegs with special qualities – no doubt assisted by the wind dropping off. They experience less resistance but just cannot get the score on the board. The rain de-lightens, hatches are battened and my Footy Budget becomes papier-mache. A Reinbrecht behind takes our score to 3.14 – our kicking is now beyond frustrating and just plain funny.

Finally, 10 minutes in, Kane Murphy kicks one to put the Redlegs back in front and the floodgates somewhat open in line with North showing more interest in some fisticuffs. Norwood kicks four of the next five goals and get out to 23 point lead. Then the rain stops and some players who should know better step back from the contest. North’s endeavor has been solid throughout and they seize the opportunity.

Another run on the ground with decreasing company. North kick the first three goals of the final quarter to hit the lead, then, thank Thor, the rain sets back in. The cold slap in the face comes just in time as the Redlegs put the pressure back on. Successive waves of attack is finally rewarded with Murphy scrubbing through the winner (under much hand slapping Rooster protest,) 24 minutes in. Eventually, following a Phillips point to bring in the possibility of a draw, the timekeeper sees fit to put the finger on the button and we have had one of those fully deserved / got out of jail wins.

For Norwood, Baulderstone and Panos (17 clearances) outstanding. Rant time – astonishing the state team selectors have not considered Baulderstone worthy to make the squad in the last two years let alone the team. Today he had 51 hit outs, 21 disposals, five clearances and six inside 50s. Compare that to Kurtze (51, 8, 1, 0) and Willits (16, 10, 0, 2) and it is clear that Baulderstone is the standout ruckman in the competition. He came third in the Magarey Medal last year and may just jump a couple of places this year. We clearly need some state selectors whose first name is not ‘Sideshow’.

For North, supporters would be happy with the team’s competitiveness and pressure, coming so close to snatching it. Motlop probably their standout. North won’t play finals this year but may get a say on who does. Norwood, meanwhile, sits on top of the ladder courtesy of having played an extra game and look like making up the top three with the Eagles and Wests.

North Adelaide 10.4 – 64 def by Norwood 9.16 – 70


Around the grounds

Richmond Oval: West Adelaide 7.11 – 53 def South Adelaide 7.10 – 52

South high flyer Brett Eddy almost got to be the match winner, missing a shot from outside 50 after the siren. West Adelaide stormed home in the last quarter, running down a 23 point three quarter time deficit. Schmidt and Stevens prominent for the Bloods while Beech kicked the winner. As usual, Cross and Liddle good for South with Eddy’s three the highest goal tally on the ground. West third on the ladder with a game in hand on Norwood with Sturt in sixth looking to be in a fight with Port and South for fourth and fifth.


Elizabeth Oval: Central District 11.7 – 73 def Adelaide 8.5 – 53

Given the Crows’ injury list and general lack of interest in the SANFL, Centrals collected a workmanlike 20 point win at the Ponderosa. Schiller at the bottom of every pack for the Bulldogs with 30 disposals and 10 clearances and Gilbee with three goals. Crows were more than happy with the first games of the season for Atkins (32 disposals, 10 clearances) and Shaw (23 disposals, 5 rebound 50s.) Three goals for top-up and former Centrals player Castree. Centrals in seventh, not looking finals material (how the mighty have fallen), while Adelaide will continue the fight with Glenelg for the wooden spoon.


Woodville Oval: Woodville West Torrens 6.7 – 43 def Sturt 3.8 – 26

As unpleasant conditions for football continued, the Eagles made the most of their opportunities to win by 17 points. The Double Blues must be increasingly frustrated by their inability to convert inside 50s, kicking three goals from 45 entries. As usual an ensemble performance from the Eagle midfield with a virtuoso turn from Wundke with 4.2. Kirkwood and Battersby the standouts for Sturt. Eagles still looking most likely at the moment while Sturt are in that next bracket aiming for fourth and fifth.


Alberton Oval: Port Adelaide 13.5 – 83 def Glenelg 11.9 – 75

A strange game at Alberton as the Magpies only collected a eight point win after a 39-0 start to the game and having been 49 points up 27 minutes into the second quarter. Glenelg kicked nine goals to three from that point on and looked a chance at nine points behind 23 minutes into the last. Young and Moore the most prominent of the Power listed players while Harvey and Neade each kicked three. Snook the most statistically significant for the Bays with Alleway kicking three of his own. Port are a chance for the finals but do not look the dominant force of last year (sound familiar?) while an improving Glenelg will be hoping to take out Adelaide next time they play and avoid the spoon.

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Dave Baulderstone not playing in Perth was sheer stupidity, very happy to get away with a win the rain Saturday was incredible in that stopped just before 12.15 and started again at 2.15 just after I had finished my maggot duties.Big game at the parade Sunday v the bloods ( Norwood 80s juniors reunion at the Norwood hotel before the game every 1 welcome contact me for further details every 1 welcome big day !)

  2. Good atmosphere and good to win considering our poor kicking for goal.
    Don’t mind the wet, always makes for hard physical footy and I cant believe North have only 1 win so far for the season.
    I thought Chippa struggled up forward but we had to try something.
    Pretty sure I overheard Dawe say he will be right for this week’s game against the Bloods at Norwood Oval Sunday.
    Can’t wait. Go Legs!

  3. Markl Clarke says

    A real scrappy game, with many fumbles and poor short passes becoming turnovers-there are times when a long kick to a player on his own could have resulted in a scoring opportunity, but they just don’t even look for them! Also, players marking on or near the 50 metre line should have a shot! -2or 3 times short kicks were intercepted by opposition players and THEY scored! I think it would be preferable to have a go-even if a behind is the result-better us than the opposition-and you just may kick a goal!
    It helped that North lost their focus and started getting into scraps in the third quarter-happy to see our boys concentrate on the footy-it paid off!
    If North had played footy instead of the man, they may have kicked away and won,they certainly were competitive enough-just demonstrates that if you lose focus, it can cost you the game.
    The final quarter was very entertaining-shouted myself hoarse- and the victory was all the sweeter having come from behind and overcoming a strong opponent and some VERY ordinary umpiring.

  4. As an old Norwood supporter regrettably long removed from Adelaide it gives me a good feeling to know that they are top at the moment. Long may it stay that way.

  5. Raj Singh says

    Great Writeup The Legs are just doing enough at the moment it seems in a very even comp

  6. Jeff Milton says

    Another stepping stone to hopefully four in a row premierships.

  7. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments, all. Yep, Malcolm, Westies game will be a real test of both teams.

    I thought Chippa didn’t look out of place, Manny. Albeit he dropped a few marks he normally would have taken and didn’t always lead to the right place. Those things can be fixed. Given our backline depth for blokes his size if he can develop that switchability in his game that makes us more dangerous. Great if Brady available on Sunday!

    Yep, Mark, still haven’t nailed the forward movement. Good to be 8-1 and still have significant room for improvement. Before the rain the wind really was a factor though – gusting across the ground. I reckon the umps had patches of being average in both directions – favouring the team first at it.

    Agreed Peter, Raj & Jeff. Redlegs’ goal would be top three and attack the finals from there.

  8. Great win by the Legs. Pity they didn’t kick straighter and it was too close for comfort. Glad we won in the end. Hopefully a big turnout on Sunday against Westies and another victory. Reserves should win at home too. Go legs!

  9. Dave Brown says

    20 degrees should be a good day for footy on Sunday, Cameron. Crows & Power playing on the Saturday so no excuse for anything other than a decent crowd on Sunday. Mickan has the Bloods up and about.

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